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Headmaster question.


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#1 Phil McFarty

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 11:18 AM

In the Marvel comics was the headmaster process, of bonding nebulon to transformer, slowly making the two individuals one? Almost like the bonding process that was happening with the powermasters? It seemed like after a point, the headmasters were no longer really shown as being two seperate individuals but one robot. I read through the TFwiki, and it didnt really give the answers I am looking for.

Edited by boneofhate, 09 December 2011 - 11:18 AM.


#2 Professor

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 11:29 AM

The comic didn't really give an answer either. As new toys came out and the focus shifted off the headmasters, it probably became easier not to write around the gimmick, so it was just ignored. That doesn't mean that the characters had become a single individual -- it just means that nothing was shown to say either way.

In hindsight, the comic did an amazing job of introducing toys with only 12 main issues a year to do it in. Headmasters got its own mini-series, of course, but that's still a lot of new characters to juggle in very little space. It's impressive that so many of them got to contribute meaningfully to a story.

Edited by Professor, 09 December 2011 - 12:35 PM.


#3 Starfield

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:15 PM

Yea, the comic doesn't really say, but what are the clues? Optimus Prime is the only one shown getting a stomach ache, which was an early sign that anything was happening. Hi-Q is surprised that the process is happening to him, so it is probably unknown to the Autobots. It really looks like it was only Hi-Q/Optimus Prime that bonded like that. Plus Nucleon accelerated the process, so it is possible they are the only ones ever completely united.

There isn't an in-story reason why it would be only Hi-Q and Optimus Prime, but obviously in real life it was so they could resurrect Optimus. Speculation: Maybe it is because Optimus Prime's Powermaster body was made by Nebulans with Nebulan parts. Hi-Q said he added technological enhancements.

#4 Phil McFarty

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:27 PM

QUOTE(Starfield @ Dec 9 2011, 12:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yea, the comic doesn't really say, but what are the clues? Optimus Prime is the only one shown getting a stomach ache, which was an early sign that anything was happening. Hi-Q is surprised that the process is happening to him, so it is probably unknown to the Autobots. It really looks like it was only Hi-Q/Optimus Prime that bonded like that. Plus Nucleon accelerated the process, so it is possible they are the only ones ever completely united.

There isn't an in-story reason why it would be only Hi-Q and Optimus Prime, but obviously in real life it was so they could resurrect Optimus. Speculation: Maybe it is because Optimus Prime's Powermaster body was made by Nebulans with Nebulan parts. Hi-Q said he added technological enhancements.

Thats true too. I guess the best answer is that it was just glossed over, and we are supposed to assume that the binary bonding is as far as it went with the majority of the headmasters.

#5 Somebody

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:36 PM

It was mixed. Scorponok/Zarak effectively lost all trace of Scorponok as time went on; Fort Max/Spike always kept two very separate minds and a lot of the others showed no sign of any influence from their heads whatsoever.

#6 Shockwave 75

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:13 PM

QUOTE(Starfield @ Dec 9 2011, 12:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yea, the comic doesn't really say, but what are the clues? Optimus Prime is the only one shown getting a stomach ache, which was an early sign that anything was happening. Hi-Q is surprised that the process is happening to him, so it is probably unknown to the Autobots. It really looks like it was only Hi-Q/Optimus Prime that bonded like that. Plus Nucleon accelerated the process, so it is possible they are the only ones ever completely united.

Optimus never used Nucleon.

The way I remember it being written was that in "human mode" the Nebulans were subconciously influenced by the TF's personality, and vice versa in head mode. Using Scorponok/Zarak as an example; after bonding Scorponok became more compassionate and caring about his troops, while Zarak became more ruthless and cunning.

#7 Lukeblast

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:18 PM

Unfortunately, a lot of it boils down to toy gimmickry that never had a solid explanation/reason in the fiction, each media contradicting the others (and sometimes itself), and fans making best guesses based on what's available.

In other words, whatever you think is the case is probably as close to "accurate" as is possible.
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#8 Silent_Magnus

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:25 PM

Yeah, this is why I prefer the Japanese Headmaster concept.
There's a lot less ambiguity.
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#9 D.M

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:46 PM

QUOTE(Silent_Magnus @ Dec 9 2011, 07:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, this is why I prefer the Japanese Headmaster concept.
There's a lot less ambiguity.

Me too.
It's faaaaaaaaar more superior.

#10 Starfield

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE(Somebody @ Dec 9 2011, 12:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It was mixed. Scorponok/Zarak effectively lost all trace of Scorponok as time went on; Fort Max/Spike always kept two very separate minds and a lot of the others showed no sign of any influence from their heads whatsoever.

People say Scorponok's personality faded away, but I don't think that's true. Zarak is the head. Reading things like the Universe profiles, I get the impression that it is normal for the head to be in charge. Spike and Fort Max got the most internal dialog spelled out in the comic, but I imagine they all talk back and forth with each other. Unless the head just ignores the Transformer, like Zarak might be doing.

I think Spike was still in charge, but he let Fort Max take over for a while to get beat up by Galvatron. Here is one line of Spike's internal dialog: "Okay, you messed up. CORRECT it. Take the mad dog out before it does more damage, endangers more lives. FIGHT BACK, BLAST YOU! ... or so help me, I'LL DO IT FOR YOU!" So if it really came down to it, Spike could just lock out Fort Max.

I agree that after their introduction, most of the minor characters were pretty much just given their Transformer component's personality. But I like to imagine they are having internal dialogs and stuff anyway.

QUOTE(Shockwave 75 @ Dec 9 2011, 01:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Optimus never used Nucleon.

The way I remember it being written was that in "human mode" the Nebulans were subconciously influenced by the TF's personality, and vice versa in head mode. Using Scorponok/Zarak as an example; after bonding Scorponok became more compassionate and caring about his troops, while Zarak became more ruthless and cunning.

In "Still Life," Hi-Q took a jolt of Nucleon energy while Grimlock was metamorphosising in order to speed up the process of him and Optimus uniting minds.

#11 ZacWilliam1

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:37 PM


Another thing to keep in mind is that binary bonding was a pretty experimental process. Arcana and Brainstorm kinda came up with it on the fly. It's entirely possible it has different effects depending on the two minds involved.

It's funny that at the end of Headmasters Zarak was worried Scorponok was overwriting him, where by Furman's run it's very clear that Zarak is the dominant mind and The original Scorponok is buried beneath his mind at best.

Fort Max and Spike on the other hand seem to be seperate minds sharing eachother's forms. I think it'd be really interesting to see if there's any echoes of Galen floating around in there too, as the only binary bonded partner to be replaced.

-ZacWilliam, much prefers the US Headmasters to the Japanese. Just a lot more intesting story/character potential. The Japanese take is just dull IMO.
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#12 G.B.Blackrock

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 04:09 PM

QUOTE(ZacWilliam1 @ Dec 9 2011, 11:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
-ZacWilliam, much prefers the US Headmasters to the Japanese. Just a lot more interesting story/character potential. The Japanese take is just dull IMO.

This is my take, as well. While I'm sympathetic to those who argue that the Japanese version "makes more sense," it's the very fact that so much is left to ponder and wonder about that makes the American take on Head/Target/Powermasters so intriguing. We get all these tantalizing hints about what's happening, and because it's so different and new, we get to explore what all that means as the story unfolds.

(Maybe it's just me, but Furman's take on Fortress Maximus, in particular, always reminded me of the classic version of the DC superhero Firestorm, where teenager Ronnie Raymond was "in charge" of the merged form, while Professor Martin Stein was a presence who could only advise)
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#13 Silent_Magnus

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 05:41 PM

QUOTE(G.B.Blackrock @ Dec 9 2011, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(ZacWilliam1 @ Dec 9 2011, 11:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
-ZacWilliam, much prefers the US Headmasters to the Japanese. Just a lot more interesting story/character potential. The Japanese take is just dull IMO.

This is my take, as well. While I'm sympathetic to those who argue that the Japanese version "makes more sense," it's the very fact that so much is left to ponder and wonder about that makes the American take on Head/Target/Powermasters so intriguing. We get all these tantalizing hints about what's happening, and because it's so different and new, we get to explore what all that means as the story unfolds.


That's fine, but what chance is there that we'll get stories that actually use that potential? Closest we got was in Furman's IDW run.

If you really wanted to get into it the Japanese concept has somewhat similar hidden depth.
The transtectors are basically prosthetic bodies for "mini-cons". Combine that with the hint that smaller transformers are discriminated against in the Prime universe and I think there's potential for an entertaining story, or at least a sub-plot.


Although, considering how different they are I think both concepts could exist in the same universe, but you would probably have to rename one of them.

Edited by Silent_Magnus, 09 December 2011 - 05:42 PM.

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#14 Starfield

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE(Silent_Magnus @ Dec 9 2011, 05:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's fine, but what chance is there that we'll get stories that actually use that potential? Closest we got was in Furman's IDW run.

If you really wanted to get into it the Japanese concept has somewhat similar hidden depth.
The transtectors are basically prosthetic bodies for "mini-cons". Combine that with the hint that smaller transformers are discriminated against in the Prime universe and I think there's potential for an entertaining story, or at least a sub-plot.


Although, considering how different they are I think both concepts could exist in the same universe, but you would probably have to rename one of them.

I wonder if Hasbro could do Japanese-style Headmasters. Their legal team might be like, "we have patents/trademarks for sentient converting robots, not converting piloted mechs."

I wonder if that is how the American style Headmasters came about in the first place.

But yea, the Japanese didn't do much with the Headmaster concept in the Headmaster series. I can think of one episode where one of the Autobots used their smaller robot to their advantage. But the Headmaster Juniors and Godmasters took the concept and ran with it. With magic even.

The award for most thorough waste of gimmick potential goes to the Japanese Brainmasters. "Hi! I'm Star Saber's brain. I only appear in his transformation stock footage!"

Edited by Starfield, 09 December 2011 - 06:03 PM.


#15 1stStageMidboss

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 05:55 PM

I think that Japanese-style Headmasters have generally worked better, but the American take has a lot more potential if used well.

QUOTE(Starfield @ Dec 9 2011, 10:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wonder if Hasbro could do Japanese-style Headmasters. Their legal team might be like, "we have patents/trademarks for sentient converting robots, not converting piloted mechs."

I wonder if that is how the American style Headmasters came about in the first place.

That's not how patents or trademarks work... Besides, Japanese-style Headmasters aren't piloted, they're basically just super modes where the normal robot doesn't have an alt mode.
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#16 Shockwave 75

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE(ZacWilliam1 @ Dec 9 2011, 02:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
-ZacWilliam, much prefers the US Headmasters to the Japanese. Just a lot more intesting story/character potential. The Japanese take is just dull IMO.

For a cartoon I think I prefer the Japanese concept, it's just simpler. But for a comic or if the characters show up in any future novelization I think the Marvel concept would be the way to go.

Though a Mini-con masquerading as a "bulk" using the Headmaster concept to avoid discrimination could make for an interesting Prime story arc. Or at least two or three episodes.

#17 Spark

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 07:37 PM

QUOTE(G.B.Blackrock @ Dec 9 2011, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(ZacWilliam1 @ Dec 9 2011, 11:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
-ZacWilliam, much prefers the US Headmasters to the Japanese. Just a lot more interesting story/character potential. The Japanese take is just dull IMO.

This is my take, as well. While I'm sympathetic to those who argue that the Japanese version "makes more sense," it's the very fact that so much is left to ponder and wonder about that makes the American take on Head/Target/Powermasters so intriguing. We get all these tantalizing hints about what's happening, and because it's so different and new, we get to explore what all that means as the story unfolds.

I personally got irritated with the US take on Headmasters since they stressed in the start how it would be an advantage for both... somehow... and didn't push how they were better because of the process. Seemed like they were just regular Transformers with more angst.
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#18 LBD "Nytetrayn"

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:56 AM

Of course, one difference between Fort Max/Spike and Scorponok/Zarak is that Spike pulled out after a short time, whereas Zarak kept going and going...

And as someone mentioned, there's Galen as well; perhaps being the one originally bonded somehow prevented Fort Max and Spike from fully merging into one personality...

On the other hand, I have a hunch it's a real YMMV, case-by-case sort of thing.

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#19 ZacWilliam1

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:23 AM

QUOTE(Spark @ Dec 9 2011, 07:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I personally got irritated with the US take on Headmasters since they stressed in the start how it would be an advantage for both... somehow... and didn't push how they were better because of the process. Seemed like they were just regular Transformers with more angst.


Well the idea is the same as running a PC with Dual Processors I think... ie. if they're working well together you double your brain power, double your response time/reflexes and double multi-tasking abillity/speed ect.

That's if the minds involved in the binary bond are in sinc. The angst comes from trying to get there. (There was a marvel UK story about that with Highbrow IIRC). If there's internal conflict or discord between partners then you get the aforementioned angst/conflict.

So it works well as a concept I think, both internally to the fiction and externally to help writers generate interesting conflict in the story.

Now its plusses weren't always displayed super strongly in the fiction, but if you look the Master advantage is dealt with a number of times in early stories. It's really just that with all the new toys constantly introduced in the comic they never really got the spotlight to show off those advantages after their early stories. Only Fort Max and Skorpy played a major role on an ongoing basis and they were so powerful anyway because of their size and nature that it overshadowed the Headmaster-advantage I think.


-ZacWilliam, is curious what the US would have done with the Brainmaster concept... I could see it played as either the way Japanese normal HMs were or as the HMjrs were...

Edited by ZacWilliam1, 10 December 2011 - 11:24 AM.

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#20 Walky

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:54 AM

QUOTE(Shockwave 75 @ Dec 9 2011, 02:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE(Starfield @ Dec 9 2011, 12:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yea, the comic doesn't really say, but what are the clues? Optimus Prime is the only one shown getting a stomach ache, which was an early sign that anything was happening. Hi-Q is surprised that the process is happening to him, so it is probably unknown to the Autobots. It really looks like it was only Hi-Q/Optimus Prime that bonded like that. Plus Nucleon accelerated the process, so it is possible they are the only ones ever completely united.

Optimus never used Nucleon.


Yes he did, through Grimlock, when HiQ touched him.



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